Rises in "underlying costs at farm level", including energy and fuel, could force up bread prices in the longer term, according to Alex Waugh, chief executive of the National Association of British and Irish Millers (nabim).

Speaking during a discussion at the Home Grown Cereal Authority’s (HGCA) Grain Market Outlook conference on 16 October, he said although further increases in bread prices in the short-term were unlikely and competition among retailers might even push them lower, he predicted that rising costs of wheat production would have a long-term impact on prices.

Fuel costs have risen by 50% between July 2007 and July 2008 and the cost of fertiliser has rocketed by 161%. Robin Manning, head of cereals and wine at Defra, said it was "very easy to blame biofuels" and pointed to other factors, inclu-ding population changes, diet, the activities of speculators and weather conditions, as also having an effect on the market.

Regarding this year’s harvest, Gary Sharkey, Rank Hovis head of wheat procurement, told British Baker that while there was likely to be enough milling wheat for bread, there were concerns at levels of wheat used for cakes and biscuits. He warned that the milling premium on this wheat could soon match that for breadmaking varieties, at around £40 or £50 a tonne, which was previously "unheard of".


=== In Short ===

== Cool innovation ==

Natural solution provider, Cleveland Biotech, has been named winner of the Field Service Innovation of the Year award at the 2008 Cooling Industry Awards. The accolade was given for the its Amnite L600 FridgeFree product, a biological solution for clearing gel build-up in the drains of commercial refrigeration units.

== Book sought ==

If anyone knows where a baker can lay his hands on a copy of ’Up-To-Date Confectionery’, a book by A R Daniel, published by Maclaren & Sons, please email Christopher Rose on christopher@roses-the-bakers.co.uk, as he’s seeking a copy.

== Torbay’s café trial ==

Torbay Council is aiming to create a ’café culture’ in Paignton by closing Torbay Road to traffic for two trial periods. If tests are successful, the road could be permanently pedestrianised. The first trial, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, aims to boost trade over the festive period. If this proves a success, the Council plans to run the second trial during the summer.

== Retail excellence ==

A number of supermarkets scooped accolades at the Scottish Retail Excellence Awards 2008, held at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Tuesday, 21 October. Tesco won the Retail Training Initiative award, Sainsbury’s took home the Customer Service Excellence award and Asda triumphed as National Chain of the Year.

== Wastage Fine ==

Carluccio’s, the chain of Italian restaurants and food shops, has been fined £15,000 for breaching packaging waste regulations. The firm pleaded guilty to failing to meet its requirements to recover and recycle packaging waste between 2004 and 2006.